Father and daughter at table


  • People are more hopeful this year and are increasingly eager to spend on fun treats and practical purchases, so they want a balance between fun and functionality.
  • At the same time, they want to prioritize managing their finances — somewhere between frivolous and frugal.
  • Millennial parents are more open to technology like click-to-cart online ads, making it easy to buy.

Consumers have been feeling optimistic about 2022, as we noted in the 2022 Vericast Consumer Outlook. Parents — especially younger parents — were particularly optimistic. And prior to the turn of the calendar, a full two-thirds of millennial parents were describing the year in positive terms — with “hopeful” being the most popular word in our latest research.

This confidence reflects on their spending plans — 48% of millennial parents plan to make more fun purchases than practical ones. In contrast, 66% of Gen X and 69% of baby boomers intend to be more practical in their spending.

People are eager to escape after two years of pandemic-related restrictions and belt-tightening because of financial uncertainties. And the number one area of purchase interest for 2022? A vacation. Who are most excited to venture out of home? Millennial parents, with 54% of them saying so, compared to just 41% of baby boomers.

However, this is not unbridled optimism. Consumers across generations still prioritize financial pragmatism to increase their savings, cut costs and pay down debt. It is not a choice between fun and functionality. Shoppers want both.

The younger set, including millennial parents, are more likely to set a budget and improve their finances through career, education, or skills development. Seventy-two percent of millennial parents want to prioritize management of their expenses. And yet, they don’t want to give up their enjoyment, with 64% planning to spend on purchases they put on hold over the past year. They are neither frivolous nor frugal.

Lean On Their Tech Addiction

Part of being practical is hunting for deals. People like promotions, with 63% of consumers agreeing that advertisers need to make coupons and discounts easier to find. Thirty-eight percent are more likely to respond to advertisers that reward their loyalty with personalized offers and discounts.

Parents also want convenience and are open to interacting with technology when shopping. Millennial parents are receptive in quicker ways to purchase from an ad to cart, despite the perception that Gen Z is the most tech-savvy generation.

Perhaps, as millennials, they are just as comfortable with technology, and as parents, they are just a lot busier and deal with more expenses. Hence, they are driven to find value in all they buy, even more so than other generations and groups.

Millennial parents appreciate the different ways technology makes shopping quick and easy. Promotions that reward them in just one click might be the difference between spending or saving.

  • Straight-to-Cart Ads

Online ads can link directly to a specific item in the shopping cart. This saves shoppers the time they would spend reading through a product page before clicking on the add-to-cart button.

Sixty-two percent of millennial parents like having the option to add items straight to their cart from online ads, versus just 41% of Gen Z shoppers. If shoppers are ready to buy, you should take advantage of one-click discounts and set up your online ads this way — at least for those targeted at this demographic.

  • Ads With QR Codes

The pandemic sparked widespread use and acceptance of QR codes. They are versatile for advertising as they can be used in print, outdoor and television ads. Shoppers do not have to remember and enter a URL. Scanning a QR code makes it fast and convenient to go straight to a product page or shopping cart, encouraging spontaneity.

You should include QR codes for discounts within your ads, as 59% of millennial parents like ads that have them to get coupons and discounts, compared to 46% of Gen Z.

  • Communication With Technology

There are many ways technology can be used to reach out to consumers. Aside from online ads, there are email newsletters, social media posts, messaging apps and even good old SMS. Sixty-one percent of millennial parents want to receive communication about sales and deals at least once a week from advertisers they currently shop. And 58% of this consumer segment agree that advertisers need to reach out to them using new or current technology.

These parents are eager to hear from you. Use multiple ways to reach them to be top of mind. This does not only apply to your current customers — 56% of millennial parents also want at least weekly communication from advertisers that are new to them.

Stay Close to Home

As much as consumers want to get away, staying home is still important. Seventy percent say that home and family are a higher priority for them in 2022. And 54% plan to focus their purchases on “nesting” — baby boomers (59%) more so than millennial parents (46%).

A quarter of consumers are interested in home improvement and cooking equipment, and 23% in home décor and furnishings. Gen Z, millennials and millennial parents are significantly more likely to have plans to buy new technology this year.

There is also a preference to shop and dine locally to feel safe and in control. It is also a way to support their local community during these challenging times.

Even with growing optimism, there is still anxiety over the ongoing pandemic. Forty-seven percent of people need better solutions to manage their stress and mental health: 63% of millennial parents agree.

Deal Through Deals

People want a break, perhaps millennial parents more so. This is what is driving the desire for escapism and nesting. But consumers are tempering this with financial pragmatism.

Offering deals will address this dual need to have fun and to be inspired. Start with relevant ads and timely messages that get people excited. You can address consumers’ desire to be practical and responsible by including discounts and coupons to help them save money.

Even impulse purchases now and then are not a bad thing. People are looking for enjoyable experiences, fun treats and occasional indulgences to stay sane. Millennial parents particularly are highly receptive to marketing messages and technology-enabled advertising. Use straight-to-cart online ads and ads with QR codes to make it easy and convenient for them to buy. Our 2021 Consumer Intel Report found that over half of buyers say a sale would drive impulse purchase. These kinds of ads and offers might be just the thing to move the needle from cautious spending to indulging in small luxuries.

Check out our infographic to learn more about consumers’ 2022 shopping resolutions.

*Data from Vericast Awareness-to-Action Study, October 2021 except where otherwise noted.